MANSFIELD’S Armchair Club have stepped forward with some financial backing for talented Mansfield martial arts player Shannon Rose Bartlett (pictured right with recent trophies) to enable her to compete at the WOMMA (World of Mixed Martial Arts) World Games in Cardiff.
The 12-year-old Brunts School pupil had again been selected to represent Great Britain but needed £320 to cover the cost of the five nights’ accommodation in Wales as well as having to purchase her own GB tracksuit.
Now the locally-based group of businessmen who raise funds for sportspeople via their Armchair Club dinners, have agreed to help her get to this year’s prestigious World Games on 19-21st August at Cardiff University.
Shannon has been training in Martial Arts for three years under Sensei Zara Phythian, (13 times World Champion) at the Personal Best Academy in Mansfield and in the last year or so has been competing in Great Britain and at the World Games, held in Ireland last August.
She has numerous trophies and medals won in this country and has two Junior World Champion titles from the World Games.
She also has a silver and two bronze from that event and will soon be taking her 1st Dan Black Belt grading in Karate, MMA, Thai and Kickboxing.
Shannon trains in Karate, Taekwondo, Kickboxing, weapons, is a member of the Xtreme Elements Performance Group, and it is unusual for her to leave any competition without a least one gold medal.
However, the costs involved in competing at her level can be crippling and a family member said: “It seemed an insurmountable task for us, her family, to raise this money unaided as the local council say there are no funds for minority sports and it is not as if she was going to the Olympics.
“It is short-sighted thinking as the Olympics are Government-funded, but how are our youngsters ever going to get experienced enough in competition to ever go there?
“When she went to Ireland she was unable to get any help towards any of her costs, but, the Mansfield Superbowl gave a free night to the PEEPS (Parents of Extreme Elements Performers Committee) to raise funds to pay for the track suits for the members.”
An Armchair club spokesman said: “The Armchair Club were very impressed with Shannon’s achievements at such a young age. I must tell you that we are appalled at the fact that Shannon has to pay for her own GB track suit having been selected to represent her country.
“It’s a sad reflection on how our young sports men and women are treated and not the first time we have come across this crazy state of affairs.”
The next World Games are in America which is going to prove even more expensive for her and, without more backing, looks a major doubt she can get there.